SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois House has pushed through a monstrous expansion of legalized gambling in the state, not only adding thousands of new casino wagering opportunities but legalizing betting on sporting events for the first time.
The House voted 87-27 Saturday night to OK the plan. The Senate must approve, and officials expect senators to return to Springfield Sunday to send it to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. He plans to sign it.
Licensing fees and tax revenue could generate as much as $700 million in the first year. It’s intended to be used for the state’s $45 billion capital-construction program.
The sports betting plan capitalizes on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that ended Nevada’s monopoly on sports-betting. It languished until this week when Blue Island Democratic Rep. Robert Rita added a long-discussed measure to expand nearly 30-year-old casino gambling.
Rita’s measure would allow for casinos in Chicago, its northern and southern suburbs, and three other locations. Thousands of gambling positions would be added to existing casinos as well as to horse racing tracks.
The bill is SB690.